ND is 49th out of 50 states for “bicycle friendliness”

ND: at the bottom of the 2012 League of American Bicyclists state rankings.

The League of American Bicyclists have come out with their 2012 state rankings, and North Dakota managed to beat out Arkansas for the 49th most-bicycle-friendly state.  As one commenter in on the Facebook group BIKE FARGO 365 put it, “not surprising!”  The state scorecard can be found here or linked at the bottom of the state ranking page..

Why exactly is this not surprising?  The League is pretty clear where we’re lacking, and pretty clear on what we need to do to improve.  North Dakota has failed to achieve any of the “Top 10 Signs of Success” regarding cycling and clearly needs a statewide Complete Streets policy.  But let’s step back a bit: sure, North Dakota as a whole isn’t going to compete with our neighbor Minnesota (#2, home to Minneapolis, just picked for best bikeability by WalkScore) or with Oregon (#1, home to Portland, this year’s best bike-friendly city according to Bicycling Magazine), but I don’t think we need to try for that right now.  What we can focus on is doing something local, and doing something now.

Each of the “Top 10 Signs of Success” can be achieved here in Grand Forks just as easily (or even more easily) than they can at the state level.  The same goes for Fargo, and for Bismarck and Minot.  I’m not trying to discount the other cyclists in the state, but lobbying for “bike friendliness” (as part of a greater Complete Streets initiative) might have a greater effect in the places where cycling is most viable as a transportation option: cities and large towns.  Grand Forks can be more nimble than the state in enacting policies that support all forms of transportation, and what we succeed at can be used as a model for the rest of the state.

Which of the “Top 10 Signs of Success” do you think are the most achievable in Grand Forks?

“Top 10 Signs of Success” from North Dakota’s 2012 League of American Bicyclists scorecard.

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